Business people with experience in the manufacturing industry know that customer retention is one of the most important keys to ongoing success, and delivering consistently well-made products hinges on a robust quality control system. Even the best production lines suffer from wear and tear, and manufacturing errors are — to some degree — inevitable. Being vigilant about the quality of parts being produced and catching and disposing of faulty products before they are shipped to customers requires a production team trained to notice errors and equipped with the best tools available. The coordinate measuring machine (CMMs) is one such tool.
CMMs play an important role in the quality control process because of their extreme precision and their ability to find errors that might escape the human eye. Especially in the case of small or complex parts, where a few millimetres can mean the difference between a perfect part and a defective one, the ability of CMMs to quickly and accurately provide high-level measurement data is an invaluable addition to the production line, and one that can save a lot of money and time in the long run.
Businesses considering purchasing a CMM are immediately confronted with a range of different options, but one of the most pressing decisions is whether or not to purchase a new or used CMM. As with many pieces of common shop floor equipment, it isn’t hard to find a used CMM for sale — but because they are such complex and sophisticated pieces of machinery, it can be hard to judge between a good deal and a bad one. A suspiciously cheap used CMM may well be damaged and prone to providing incorrect data; given that CMMs are meant to provide quality control, a faulty CMM can be worse than no CMM at all.
This doesn’t mean, however, that new CMMs are the only ones worth purchasing. It is possible to get a good deal on a used CMM without sacrificing quality or accuracy, so long as these guidelines are kept in mind:
- Only consider used CMMs that have been inspected by a metrology expert, and backed by a guarantee that they are shop floor ready. Check to make sure this inspection has covered drive systems, air lines, and cablings as well as probing systems.
- When possible, ask for a demonstration before buying, and when ordering for long-distance delivery, see if the provider can provide video evidence of its functionality.
- Inquire about installation options. Setting up a CMM can be a complicated and delicate process, and having it professionally done guarantees that it will be properly calibrated.
CMMs are one of the most important machines on any production line. By monitoring the parts and being produced and providing detailed reports on fluctuations in quality, CMMs can help businesses reduce waste, save money and time, and engage in preventive maintenance. Purchasing a CMM doesn’t mean buying new, however, and with proper research and by asking the right questions, you can shop for used CMMs with confidence, saving your businesses even more money.